By John Hertz: Westercon LXX has confirmed we’ll discuss three Classics of Science Fiction, one discussion each. Come to as many as you like. You’ll be welcome to join in.
I’m still with “A classic is a work that survives its own time. After the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it remains, and is seen to be worthwhile for itself.” If you have a better definition, bring it.
Each of our three may be more interesting now than when first published.
Have you read them? Have you re-read them?
The Sword of Rhiannon (1949)
It’s been called her best early work; concise, eloquent, fresh, poetic. Why a sword? is answered, also Is this science fiction? Perhaps unanswerable by human beings, but addressed, are questions of identity, motive, recognition, and will, during an adventure in our great romantic tradition.
The Lights in the Sky Are Stars (1953)
Some say this belonged on the Retrospective Hugo ballot at Noreascon IV (62nd World Science Fiction Convention) – and argue over which it should have replaced, The Caves of Steel, Childhood’s End, Fahrenheit 451, Mission of Gravity, or More Than Human. A straightforward s-f novel by Brown – and what a wallop!
The Time Machine (1895)
Far better known in the wide wide world than our other two – why? Never mind marketing; Hesse’s Glass Bead Game won the Nobel Prize in Literature. In fact we see only two distant times: the more gripping is narrated in a way which, upon reflection, is quite suspect. And the Time Traveller never returns for lunch.